Pruning catnip (Nepeta cataria) back is an essential part of their care as it encourages a more compact form and lengthens their flowering period. On the contrary, the garden plant can take on a weedy appearance. For these reasons, it is necessary to cut the catnip. However, you have to do this at the right time. Find out when that is and how to cut catnip properly below…
When and how to cut catnip?
A lucky cat
Prune catnip after the growing season
Catnip (Nepeta spp.) blooms for weeks in harsh environments with blue, lavender, or pink flowers. These perennials from the mint family grow in clusters that are between 20 cm and 180 cm high, depending on the species and variety. And yes, catnip is a type of plant known to attract cats.
Catnip is equally attractive to bees and delightfully easy to grow. However, it can become limp and shaggy in mid-summer if not pruned. Also, during the winter, catnip goes dormant, leaving a pile of prickly, brown stalks in the garden. The best time to prune catnip is in the summer, after the first flower has faded, and in early spring, when the plant is just awakening.
Create a lively garden
Cut catnip: in summer
Depending on the variety, catnip blooms in the garden from late spring to early fall. After the first bloom, taller plants can topple over and become unkempt. This is a good time to shear the plant and encourage a second bloom. Use sanitized secateurs to create a neat mound and prune the plant back to half its height if necessary. These hardy perennials will regrow on their own.
Cut back catnip in summer
At the same time, you should be careful not to create the conditions under which your plant will die. Catnip is drought tolerant, prefers lean soil, and needs at least six hours of full sun. Your catnip could become limp because of too much shade, overwatering, soil that is too rich, or unnecessary fertilization.
cut catnip? Yes, that’s just part of gardening
Let catnip flower off in the fall
Perhaps you love catnip for its lush blooms, but are less than thrilled with how quickly it spreads. To prevent unwanted seedlings, consider cutting off the blooms in the fall before the seeds are mature, when they become dry and brown. Cut off faded flowers and seeds and throw them in the trash can instead of the compost bin. Or save the seeds to plant in a spot of your choice.
The flowers are definitely worth it!
Trimming the catnip after the growing season
Since you don’t want to encourage new growth during the winter, you should only prune the mint again after the old growth has completely died back, usually after several frosts in late winter or early spring. Prune old growth by cutting back dead shoots to a height of about 5cm, just above the green growth that has emerged from the mound. Over time, healthy new shoots will cover the old growth and produce a new cloud of flowers.
Enjoy a colorful end result!